It’s August 2016. Since this episode began in December 2015 I have had 3 “ups”. Ups are times where I feel normal(ish). (Not to be confused with UPS who are a delivery company and a different thing entirely).
Ups are times when I can go about my business without fearing what the fuck I might do to myself next. It’s very freeing to lose that invisible burden. I’m still not fully normal in an up but I have one foot firmly in normality and, more importantly, my head is definitely on the normal side of the line. It is bliss. Oooh look at me walking about like a normal person who can get out of bed, talk to people and do things. Do life. Hey look at me doing life… like a boss! I get stuff done. I guess it’s a bit like a kid dressing as a superhero and feeling kind of invincible as they immerse themselves in their new, temporary identity. That’s just reminded me of Allie Brosh’s cartoon, Menace.
So this is Up#3. And, whilst ups are wonderful, I find them a bit scary. What happens after the up? The down. The super smackdown. Like a plane plummeting out of the sky. It is unstoppable and terrifying.
Up#1 happened in January 2016. It lasted a fortnight. I thought it was the fluoxetine I’d started in December. It wasn’t. It was just an Up. Here’s a fairly typical excerpt from my journal during Up#1:-
Lovely lie in. The drugs are working, 😀.
Tremors 1/5. Nausea – only mild after eating
Suicidal thoughts – 0
This is better. “
The difference is unbelievable. I’m calm and coping. Stuff happens and I’m like oh well. Nevermind. I’ve had down moments but they’ve felt ‘normal’ but I am conscious of the blackness. It’s still there at the edge of my consciousness. Like the tide is out. “
Pretty good eh? Pretty amazing actually. But then the crash comes. It actually started the next day, after the comment above. I went so low I stopped writing in my journal. When I had the motivation to try again this is what so wrote:-
Stopped keeping journal. Just have felt so awful and pathetic with cold. I’d be loathsome but I’m not worth the energy. Getting thro days in work but exhausted and useless at home. Work has piled up and is stressing me out. I don’t know how to get back on top of things.”
Which lead to:-
A lot has happened… Accelerated towards a lorry…Ran bread knife over wrist. Wondered if cry for help suicide attempt would help. Realised it wouldn’t…Cut finger with knife. Feeling desperate. No support…Husband in tears with stress. This cannot go on for 6m. *I* cannot go on for 6m. ..Bought oven cleaner. Pondered over it as a suicide method. At petrol station considered ramming full speed into pumps (wouldn’t hurt others tho). Well, this isn’t great.”
No it most certainly wasn’t great. So that was Crash#1 after Up#1.
Then came Up#2. Not as long. It lasted about a week. Here’s a snapshot from Up#2:-
Needed an extra propanolol this morning. Then felt pretty normal for the rest of the day in work. It was such a relief to feel normal. I’m too scared to go to sleep in case I wake up ill again tomorrow. This was such a nice break.”
I got another normal day after that and then Crash#2 happened. Crash#2 was bad:-
Only 1 question- how the fuck do I fix this? I have no idea. I am in denial about the fact that I (me! Trudy!) took a lethal paracetamol overdose. I did that. I did it.”
And after Crash#2 I was fully checked in to Depression Town. It’s a fucking miserable place – don’t go if you can avoid it. Since then I’ve bumped along; dangerous, suicidal and self-harming my way through the calendar days to here: August the 8th 2016. I’ve just had my 7th good day in a row. I’m in Up#3.
You’d better believe I’m shitting it.
It’s different now though. I have support. For example Team Trudy are now aware that when the crash comes it will likely bring an overwhelming urge to kill myself. That sucks. Nora and I discussed it today. I was reassured when she told me that this is the time she really worries. This is when shit happens (I’m paraphrasing obvs!). It reassured me that she gets this. I explained that I’m terrified too. I’m taking extra propanolol to keep the panic at bay and it works.
It’s rather like my abuser has gone to sleep but any minute now they are going to wake up and they are going to be pissed off. Gulp. Actually it reminded me of my mum. I would feel my body physically relax when she was passed out drunk on the floor. The relief of not having to be constantly on guard for a little while…maybe an hour…maybe two…maybe five…until...
Well, ups are like that. I get to go about my business without too much trouble but always, always aware that, at a moments notice, a killer may join me. Shit. You’d be a bit on edge too wouldn’t you?
I’m trying to protect myself. I’m actually going to do mindfulness. I’m doing some DBT exercises Nora has given me and I’m trying to be as sensible and proactive as possible.
I guess Up#3 is scary because I don’t know how much Crash#3 will hurt. But I’ll let you know, assuming I survive it. I will survive it. I believe that.
PS Sorry for all the swears. My mum always said that swearing shows a terrible lack of vocabulary. Perhaps she right but I don’t give a flying fuck.